June 19, 2014

Band Geek Thursday: 17 FIRST KISSES by Rachael Allen


Hey there, Misfits!

In the interest of full disclosure, I pretty much always have a running “Ultimate Girly Playlist.” It’s composed of the most fun and girly songs I can find, and if you drive around listening to it with the top down, it feels like you're in a girly movie...um, not that I ever do that ;)

So, I already had this bad boy (bad girl?) ready to go when I started writing 17 FIRST KISSES. The playlist fits the general feel of the book (Female friendship! Shenanigans! Figuring out who you’re supposed to be!), but there are also some songs I associate with specific scenes. They don’t really match with the order of the book, though, because I was mostly trying to capture a feeling :)

  1. Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
This song is in the back of my head during pretty much any scene where Claire and the girls are riding around in the car, having a sleepover, or gossiping about boys.

  1. Perfect Day – Hoku
This song has nothing to do with soccer or tampons, but I always associate it with Claire meeting Luke J (Chapter 2)

  1. Fidelity – Regina Spektor
Yeah, this one is just in there because I freaking love Regina.

  1. Breathe – Michelle Branch
This song makes me think of Claire’s relationship with her mom.

Well it's all so overrated
In not saying how you feel
So you end up watching chances fade
And wondering what's real

And I Give you just a little time
I, Wonder if you realize
I've been waiting till I see it in your eyes

If I just breathe
Let it fill the space between
I'll know everything is alright

  1. Material Girl – Madonna
I like this one because she sings about different kinds of boys. And because it’s Madonna, so obviously.

  1. Be OK – Ingrid Michaelson
Open me up and you will see
I'm a gallery of broken hearts

Because if you’ve kissed 17 guys, you are most definitely a gallery of broken hearts. But the song is still really hopeful, just like Claire.

  1. You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
All the scenes after Luke gets with Megan!

  1. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

Perfect for all the scenes where the girls are getting over boys, but most especially after Megan gets dumped by Chase.

But then I spent so many nights
Thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along

I don’t know about you, but I’m reading between the lines, and I’m hearing “revenge crabs.” It even says “be free” (!!) in the song.

  1. Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
For the scene when Claire and Megan make up and then steal a boy’s clothes while he’s skinnydipping.


  1. Your Love Is My Drug – Ke$ha

Because you don’t even have to ask. I ALWAYS want to have a slumber party in someone’s basement.

  1. Supermodel – Jill Sobule
If you know anything about makeover montages, you know that this song has to be playing in the background. (Makeover scene, Kiss #8)

  1. Just Dance – Lady Gaga
For the party scenes.

I feel like if you took that pre-first kiss feeling and bottled it into a song, it would be these two songs:
  1. Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
  1. Everytime We Touch – Cascada
  1. Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
I played this song on repeat when I wrote the scene where Claire kisses all the guys in the band to get back at Tanner. (Kisses #10, 11, 12, and 13)

  1. Ex-Girlfriend – No Doubt
For the break up scenes.

  1. I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll – Britney Spears
I played this song on repeat when I wrote the scene where Claire kisses Tanner after the rock show. (Kiss #9)

  1. Ain’t No Other Man – Christina Aguilera
Um, I just love this song.

  1. Some Days You Gotta Dance – Dixie Chicks
This song is for any time the girls make each other feel better about the bad things happening in their lives.

  1. Born to Fly – Sara Evans
This song perfectly captures the feeling of having bigger dreams outside your small town and wanting to find love. I played it the most when I was writing the scene with Claire going off to college. (Chapter 18)

I've been tellin' my dreams to the scarecrow
'Bout the places that I'd like to see
I said, friend do you think I'll ever get there
Ah, but he just stands there smilin' back at me

So I confessed my sins to the preacher
About the love I've been prayin' to find
Is there a brown eyed boy in my future, yeah
He says. girl you've got nothin' but time

But how do you wait for heaven
And who has that much time
And how do you keep your feet on the ground
When you know, that you were born, you were born to fly

Honorable mentions: I didn’t put these songs in the mix because I thought they might throw off the vibe, but I listened to I want you back by The Jackson Five during Kiss #1, mmmBop by Hanson during Kisses #2 and 3, and a mix of super intense/cheesy love music (think Lifehouse) during Kiss #16.


Sometimes a girl has to kiss a lot of frogs…

No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

Luke’s adorable and he’s lived all over the world. But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.


Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA where she's working furiously on her PhD in neuroscience. When she's not doing science or writing YA, you can find her chasing after a toddler, a baby, and two sled dogs. Her debut YA novel, 17 FIRST KISSES, just released from Harper Teen. Rachael may or may not have had 17 first kisses...luckily she doesn't kiss and tell.

Twitter: @rachael_allen
Blog: http://rachaelallenwrites.blogspot.com


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